Marvão is a small town in the northern region of the Alentejo, very close to the Spanish border. Like many other border towns with ancient origins, the purpose of it´s existence was to protect against invading enemy troops which is why it is heavily fortified and perched on top of a hill with an unobstructed view for kilometres in every direction. It seems I have a bit of a thing for these border towns and it´s fascinating to visit them spread out from north to south along the border… their reasons for existence are all the same but the way they´ve been built and the styles of architecture vary from region to region.
Other examples that I´ve recently visited are (to the south) Monsaraz and Mertola, as well as Monsanto (to the north). We visited these towns at different times over the last year or so but it would be a great idea to follow the border from north to south (or vice versa) and visit them all at the same time… make a road trip out of it. It´s certainly off the beaten track and you´d get to see another side to Portugal without having to battle the tour groups.
And because I´m a map nerd, I made a map of a suggested route… Click the image to go to Google Maps.